Bishop Peak is the highest of the 'Nine Sisters' volcanic plugs at 1,559 feet. The rocky peak resembling a Bishop's miter was named during the Mission days. Run as a natural reserve, ecosystems include chaparral, grassland and oak woodland making it important for conservation. A moderate 4.4 mile out and back hike will bring you to the top with sweeping views of San Luis Obispo and its valleys.
Caspers Wilderness Park is the largest and most beautiful park in Orange County with 8,000 acres of wilderness. Sandstone canyons, coast live oak trees, river valleys and wildflowers on the edge of the Santa Ana Mountains come together to create a stunning landscape. Juaneño Native Americans lived in Villages here for thousands of years and lived off the land.
Malibu Creek State Park is the premier nature wonderland of the Santa Monica Mountains. Grasslands, oak woodlands and rolling hills make up more than 8,000 acres of scenic beauty. The area was once home to the Native American Chumash who had a village here called Talepop. Paramount Pictures & 20th Century Fox both used the area for filming including M*A*S*H & The Planet of the Apes. Hiking trails of every length wind through canyons covered in wildflowers each Spring.
Jalama Road is a 14 mile Scenic Byway between Lompoc and the ocean. The road winds through rolling hills that are a brilliant green in the winter and golden in the summer. Oak groves dot the slopes to provide shade and a haven for wildlife. At the end is the secluded Jalama Beach where you will feel worlds away to discover a pristine coast.
The Descanso Gardens are a 150 acre botanical garden in La Cañada Flintridge. Its beautiful natural oak forest with its rolling green hills are a must see as are the world famous camellia gardens. Each Spring, tulips are planted and compliment the colorful rose, lilac and California native garden.
Placerita Canyon State Park preserves an important transition zone between the San Gabriel Mountains and Mojave Desert ecosystems. Coast live oaks line winding trails through chaparral covered hills. One oak in particular, 'Oak of the Golden Dream', claims fame as the first location of gold discovery in 1842. The canyon has also been a favorite location for Hollywood films with its streams, trees and canyons.
Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve is a stunning park in San Luis Obispo County. Winding trails protect centuries-old coast live oaks and ancient sand dunes. Different coast live oak species grow next to each other and range from 6 to 25 feet tall.
Peter Strauss Ranch is an enchanting park in the Santa Monica Mountains. Beautiful oak woodlands surround the ranch house as well as the cactus garden, original swimming pool and bird cage ruins. Trails wind through the National Park Service property which was once the ranch for actor Peter Strauss. It is also sacred land for the Chumash Native Americans who resided in these mountains for thousands of years.
Nojoqui Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the Santa Ynez Mountains of Santa Barbara. Dropping 100 feet, the water flows over a sandstone wall covered in a wonderland of maidenhair ferns. Nojoqui Falls, pronounced 'no-ho-wee', is a hidden gem that not many people take the time to visit. *Unfortunately the trail to the falls is currently still closed from a December 2014 landslide, while the park remains open
Solstice Canyon is a beautiful spot in the Santa Monica Mountains. A 2 mile round trip hike takes you into the canyon to the ruins of the Roberts Ranch House which was designed by Paul R. Williams, famous African American Architect in 1952. The house blended in with its natural surroundings and can be discovered by its blueprint foundation today. A nearby waterfall is also a highlight that can be seen flowing all year long.